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Former 'Skins stars play, hail to the North stadium efforts

October 25, 2005|b BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

To Mark Mosely, it's all about the roar.

To Gary Clark, it's all about opportunity.

But each of the former star Washington Redskins was sure of one thing: The effort North Hagerstown is making to build Mike Callas Stadium is all about the kids and the community in which they live.

Mosely and Clark were part of a 122-player field competing in the first North Hagerstown Boosters Golf Tournament Monday at Black Rock Golf Course. And though neither the former kicker nor wide receiver have no ties to this area, helping the cause was far too important to pass up.

"I want to thank you for caring about your community," said Mosely, who played 16 seasons, including 13 with the Redskins. "It's not often that people of a community step forward to raise this kind of money. This is not a little task, this is a great undertaking.

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"This stadium will give them a huge home advantage. That's one thing that they don't have here. It's hard to have a home advantage when you don't have a home stadium to get that feeling. (The Redskins) built it at RFK Stadium to the point that people hated to come play us there. They don't have that feeling yet in the new stadium, but now that the Redskins are starting to win again, maybe they will bring it over."

Mike Callas Stadium will start constructing, beginning with the Nov. 10 ground-breaking ceremony. When it is finished, it will end the sharing of School Stadium with South Hagerstown, but also will become a symbol of opportunity.

"When they told me that they were raising funds for a new stadium for kids, I was interested," said Clark, an 11-year veteran of the NFL, including eight seasons with the Redskins from 1985-1992. "I had never seen a high school without a football stadium. Mike Callas Stadium is a great cause for the community."

The first tournament raised more than $20,000 for North's booster club and the stadium cause. Mosely, who came through in the clutch to save many a Redskins' game from 1974-86, is planning to take a shot at adding funds to the stadium cause.

"I'm always investing in kids, whether they are mine or anyone else's," Mosely said. "The Redskins' motto is 'Caring for Kids,' and we do 20-30 tournaments like this a year. The Redskins have helped in building schools and stadiums in other areas and I'm going to be calling them to see if they might be interested in helping here."

The golf tournament and the Callas fundraising effort is built from a committee of 25, but they are part of a number of boosters who have been pushing for a North Hagerstown stadium for 30 years.

"This is a good example of how a successful partnership works," said Brook Ober, tournament chairman. "This is private business working the education and the community proving that teamwork will work. The timing of this event is perfect because we are getting into Phase II of the stadium. We have made great progress, but there is still a lot that needs to be done."

The addition of the Callas Stadium will be the latest step to keep athletics in the educational process of children.

"For me, the friends I made while playing sports I kept for life," Clark said. "I've always been in sports. They are important for young people because it gives them a focus and teaches discipline. There are so many positive things. Kids should be pushed into playing sports, but they give a great opportunity to build success for life."

And the stadium committee's success will become the cornerstone of those future success stories.

"Today may not seem like much, but the next thing you know, you will have kids playing, bands performing and cheerleaders cheering at a new stadium," Mosely said. "Even though a stadium is bricks, concrete and grass, it is still a major part of a community."

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